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J Comp Physiol A. 1997;180(3):215-21.

Dynamic responses of series force receptors innervating the opener muscle apodeme in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus.

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Department of Biology, 10900 Euclid Ave., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44110-7080, USA.


Receptors monitoring muscle force innervate the opener muscle apodeme in the walking legs of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. Biocytin backfills reveal 9-15 bipolar neurons with somata as large as 60 micrometer m positioned at the distal end of the apodeme. Sensory endings insert into the apodeme and are in series with the opener muscle. The axons of these neurons form the opener apodeme sensory nerve that merges with the most distal branch of the opener motor nerve. Recordings reveal that the receptors are not spontaneously active nor do they respond to passive muscle stretch. Isometric muscle contraction evoked by stimulating the opener excitor motor neuron is the adequate stimulus for receptor firing. Most significant is the finding that during contraction, over a wide range of forces, the firing rate of individual receptors closely parallels the rate of change of isometric force. The peak instantaneous frequency typically occurs at the force derivative maximum, but not at maximum force development. Thus, receptors of the opener apodeme sensory nerve more closely monitor changes in isometric force rather than the total force achieved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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